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Elderflower Fizz (Non-Alcoholic)

Elderflower fizz (Non-alcoholic)
elderflower, or white flower from the elder tree
 
Elderflower fizz has a subtle floral essence, is sweet tasting refreshing effervescent drink with a tang of lemon. It is simple to make and is ready to drink in a few weeks. The recipe can easily be adapted to make a champagne with the same ingredients with the addition of one ingredient champagne yeast. We will post this separately.
 
*** For the recipe to work, it is critical that the flowers be gathered on a dry sunny day, as these conditions are necessary to preserve the wild yeast that is present on the flowers. ***
 
1 gallon (4.5 litres) water
Rind of 1 lemon & juice
1.5 lbs (700g) raw organic sugar
2 tbsps (30ml) white wine vinegar (apple cider vinegar can be used)
12 head of elderflowers
 
1. Bring the water to the boil. Pour into a sterilised container, add sugar, stirring until dissolved.
 
2. When cool, add the juice and rind of the lemon, vinegar and elderflowers. Cover with several layers of muslin clothe and leave for 24 hours.
 
3. Pour through a sporage bag or muslin clothe into strong glass bottles. Stir out of direct sunlight, at room temperate for two weeks.
 
Don’t be tempted to check for gas formation as this tends to spoil the end result.
Small amounts of alcohol may be present in a soft drink, but the alcohol content must be less than 0.5% of the total volume. if the drink is to be considered non-alcoholic. This will be slightly alcoholic and by definition a non-alcoholic soft drink. Consider this most soft drinks are slightly alcoholic including coca-cola and pepsi, because of fermentation of the sugars.  Effervescent usually means it has dissolved gas or a reaction chemically within the drink forms gas.  As few soft drinks today are fermented, most are artificially gassed through carbonation.  In the fermentation process sugar is digested by yeast and a one of the by products of this process is carbon dioxide.  Few manufactures want their products to continue fermenting, as this would affect its shelf life, risk the product exploding and exceed mandated alcohol content. When you are depending on natural yeast, it can be hit and miss.  You might not get any, get a large amount, or very active yeast and this can affect results.  If stored will continue to ferment and generate more alcohol and gas, therefore it should be consumed after it has sat for two weeks.  If you don’t there is a risk of the bottle exploding.
Thanks to Dave Clarke for this explanation and his experience.
“No need to add yeast you have natural yeasts in the flowers and the sugar feeds the yeast to produce alcohol and the by product is carbon dioxide bubbles (fizz). The citric acid in the lemon juice and the acetic acid in the vinegar helps the fermentation along ad stop nasty bacteria from spoiling the product. The longer the natural fermentation lasts the more pressure you will get in the bottles along with a higher alcohol content and it is advised to release the pressure every couple of days to minimise the chance of them exploding. I make mine in a pressure barrel. If you don’t want alcohol in it you need to reduce the sugar by at least half and drink it within the fortnight suggested in the text to produce it or alternatively store it in a fridge, as the cold will stop the fermentation.”
 
 
 
 
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How to make lilac wine

Lilac Flowers

I have always loved the smell of lilac, especially of a Summer’s evening, when the temperature has cooled and there is a bit of humidity in the air, the fragrance is uplifting.

This is again a first for us, if the wine captures the essence of the fragrance, it should make a lovely wine.

Pot of lilac flowers

  • Ingredients:
  • 3.5 quarts/3.5 kilograms lilac flowers, fresh
  • 2.5 lb/1.5kg raw organic sugar
  • 1 tsp citric acid
  • 1.2 US gallons/4.5 litres water
  • 1 tsp yeast nutrient & yeast
  • Sterilising agent: peracetic acid, Milton, or silver colloidal water
    A small amount of distilled water to fill the airlock.Equipment:
    Any bucket size above 5 litre, in food grade plastic
    Siphon
    Stirring rod
    4.5 litre/1 gallon demijohn
    Air lock & Bung
    Travel/Luggage scale
    Nylon straining (sporage) bag or muslin cloth

Bring the water to the boil.  Switch off the heat.  Add the lilac flowers to a fermenting bucket and add the hot water.  Leave the sealed bucket to stew for 2 days.  Sterlise a demijohn, airlock bubbler and bung.  Rince out the demijohn and equipment well to remove the sterilising agent.  Add the sugar, yeast and citric acid to the demijohn.  Strain the flowers through a muslin clothe and funnel in the demijohn and top the level up with water if needed to the level shown in the picture below.

 

 

Add a airlock value and keep beside a fire or in a warm place for 3 – 6 months, depending on your preference for sweet or dry wine.

Label your carboy with the name of the wine and date it was made.  Fit a temperature sticker to the carboy.  Within 24 hours, the yeast should start converting the sugar into alcohol and in the process produce gas.  The airlock is to allow gas to escape and no contaminants to enter the sterile solution, as the airlock is filled with distilled water.  Remember to put a cap on the top of the airlock bubbler, this prevents airborne bacteria or yeast floating down into the bubbler.  The yeast kills all other micro-organism to maintain a sterile environment.

The colour was not what we expected.  It reminds me of rosehip syrup.

 

How to Make Parsnip Wine

Parsnip wine we have been told is one of the nicest wines the homebrewer can make.  Again we are relying on the following book for the recipe.

Front cover book 130 new winemaking recipes

We had plenty of good sized parsnips left over.  We left them in the ground to keep them fresh until we were ready to use them.  Despite our best efforts, and I mean parsnip for dinner many, many evening in a row, we still had loads over.  The raised bed they were in needed to be cleared for this years growing, in any case.Peeled and chopped parsnip

The parsnip was washed to remove any dirt before peeling and chopping.  Chop the parsnip into small pieces like shown in the picture.  A travel scale is a handy tool for measuring the weight of large quantities of fruit/flowers/roots/leaves and can picked up in most discount shops for around €3/£2.  Add your parsnip to a large saucepan or pot, with 11 litres of water and bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to simmer for about 40 minutes.  Check the parsnip regularly as you do not want the parsnip to go to mush, boil them to tender.  Remove from the heat.  Allow to cool for several hours until tepid or it is safe to pour.  Strain through a muslin clothe/sporage bag.  Add the strained juice to another 11 litres of cold water already in a fermenting bucket.  Add the sugar and stir.  Pour into a pot and bring to the boil, then reduce heat to simmer for 45 minutes.

Boiling the parsnip

You may need to split the liquid between two pots as we had to do.  Cool to about 22°C/72°F, or add yeast and nutrient, pectin enzyme (this helps to clarify the wine) and then pour back into a sterilised fermenting bucket, cover with a muslin clothe or lid and keep beside a fire for at least a week.

Parsnip wine in fermenting bucket

 

Racking parsnip wine from bucket into carboy

Racking parsnip wine into carboy

After the week, rack (siphon from one container to another, leaving the sediment at the bottom) it into a carboy and add a airlock value and keep beside a fire or in a warm place for 3 – 12 months, depending on your preference for sweet or dry wine.

 

 

 

 

Label your carboy with the name of the wine and date it was made.  Fit a temperature sticker to the carboy.  Within a couple of minutes to 24 hours, the yeast should start converting the sugar into alcohol and in the process produce gas.  The airlock is to allow gas to escape and no contaminants to enter the sterile solution.  The yeast kills all other micro-organism to maintain a sterile environment.

 

Rack (siphon) off into a sterilised brewing bucket after 6 weeks to help clear sediment and clarify the wine.  Pour back into the washed carboy and then again after three months, repeat the process of racking off, before bottling.

Our tip: Once you are happy with the finished taste, specific gravity, alcohol content.  Then add a 1/2 beaker of silver colloidal water to the brew to stop/slow down fermentation.  Stir in and bottle as normal.

Ingredients:
7kgs/15lbs Parsnip
5kgs/11lbs Raw Organic Sugar
4 tbsp Citric Acid
1 & 1/2  tsp Yeast & Nutrient
Pectinol/Pektolase (Pectin Enzyme) – Consult manufacturers recommendations
1/2 cup of silver water
Sterilising agent: peracetic acid, Milton, or silver colloidal water
A small amount of distilled water to fill the airlock.

Equipment:
27 litre/7.5 Gallon (UK) Brewing bucket
Siphon
Stirring rod
27 litre/6 Gallon Carboy
Air lock & Bung
Travel/Luggage scale
Nylon straining (sporage) bag or muslin cloth

All brewing equipment and the winemaking book are available from Mullingar Homebrew – mullingarhomebrew.ie (Coming Soon) – Until the website is launched you can contact Brendan: +353 (0) 86 8127 305

Fitted Airlock

Airlock just fitted to carboy, notice that the water is not levelAirlock just fitted to carboy, notice that the water is not level in the airlock.

Airlock, water now level after a few minutes

Airlock, water now level after a few minutes

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Making Rhubarb Wine

Making wine is simple, it requires very little equipment to get going and you can make delicious home grown or foraged wines.

Front cover book 130 new winemaking recipes

There is a glut of rhubarb in the garden at present and every year we wonder what to do with it.  There are only so many rhubarb tarts you can eat!  So last year we tried the rhubarb wine and it was very pleasant.  Problem solved.

Sunday 15th May 2016 was a fantastic day to gather the rhubarb and sit outside chopping it up.  10 kilos is required for a final volume of around 23 litres

bucket of chopped rhubarbChop the rhubarb into small pieces like shown in the picture.  A travel scale is a handy tool for measuring the weight of fruit and can picked up in most discount shops for around €3/£2. The rhubarb is washed to remove any dirt before chopping.  The water is filled to 22 litres of cold well water.

bucket filled to 21 litres

Then lid it and keep indoors for the next three day.  Twice daily, stir the rhubarb to help infuse the juices of the rhubarb.  After three days.

The rhubarb after 3 days

Strain off the rhubarb and pour the juice into a sterlised 23 litre carboy, adding 6kg of raw organic sugar, stir well add 1 & 1/2 teaspoon of yeast and nutrient and 4 teaspoons of citric acid.  Stir the sugar until dissolved.  Fill to the level indicated in the picture below, add additional water if required.

Straining the rhubarb juice into carboy

Next fit an airlock to the carboy and place beside a heat source, such as a range, open fire, for the next three months, so the brew can ferment at at average of 22°C/72°F, avoid allowing the wine to go below 22°C/72°F or above 27°C/80°F . Label your carboy with the name of the wine and date it was made.  Fit a temperature sticker to the carboy.  Within a couple of minutes to 24 hours, the yeast should start converting the sugar into alcohol and in the process produce gas.  The airlock is to allow gas to escape and no contaminants to enter the sterile solution.  The yeast kills all other micro-organism to maintain a sterile environment.  Remember to place the cap on the airlock, as shown in the picture below, in this case it is red.

Carboy with rhubarb juice, sugar, yeast and citric acid added. Now fitted with airlock

Rack (siphon) off into a sterilised brewing bucket after 6 weeks to help clear sediment and clarify the wine.  Pour back into the washed carboy and then again after three months, repeat the process of racking off, before bottling.

Our tip: Once you are happy with the finished taste, specific gravity, alcohol content.  Then add a 1/2 beaker of silver colloidal water to the brew to stop/slow down fermentation.  Stir in and bottle as normal.

Ingredients:
10kgs/22lbs Rhubarb
6kgs/13lbs Raw Organic Sugar
4 tsp Citric Acid
1 & 1/2  tsp Yeast & Nutrient
1/2 cup of silver water
Sterilising agent: peracetic acid, Milton, or silver colloidal water
A small amount of distilled water to fill the airlock.

 

Equipment:
27 litre/7.5 Gallon (UK) Brewing bucket
Siphon
Stirring rod
27 litre/6 Gallon Carboy
Air lock & Bung
Travel/Luggage scale
Nylon straining bag or muslin cloth

All brewing equipment and the winemaking book are available from Mullingar Homebrew – mullingarhomebrew.ie (Coming Soon) – Until the website is launched you can contact Brendan: +353 (0) 86 8127 305

Fitted Airlock

Airlock just fitted to carboy, notice that the water is not levelAirlock just fitted to carboy, notice that the water is not level in the airlock.

Airlock, water now level after a few minutes

Airlock, water now level after a few minutes

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Blueberry, Lemon & Honey Milk Kefir Smoothie

Looking for a delicious & healthy desert. Try this one, it’s yummy.

Can be made as a smoothie, frozen ice-cream or frozen pops.

Blueberry, Lemon & Honey Milk Kefir Smoothie

Blueberry, Lemon & Honey Milk Kefir Smoothie

Recipe:

Take 250 mls of milk kefir, add 8 – 10 organic blueberries/bilberries or faughans and generous tablespoon of organic honey and the zest of an organic lemon.

Blend and serve as a smoothie.

Or alternatively freeze as iced lollies.

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Making Milk Kefir – Step by Step Guide (Pictures)

Milk kefir is a balanced pro-biotic unlike most probiotic products sold in supermarkets and health food stores, as it contains not only the beneficial bacteria, but also the yeast.  Not including the beneficial yeast in a probiotic is only half the solution, as it leaves a vacum in your intestinal eco-system for non-beneficial yeast to occupy and cause bad health.  The bacteria and yeast in kefir live symbiotically and produce nutrients to help sustain one another.

In milk kefir, the yeast and bacteria, feed off the lactose sugar contained within the milk, so by end of the fermentation process such of the lactose that can cause intolerances are digested.

Starting with a tablespoon of milk kefir.  Add the kefir grains to a clean sterile fermentation jar, about a 1/2 litre jar.  Top up with organic milk, or raw unpasteurised/non-homogenised milk preferably.

Milk kefir grains in a straining tub

We use organic milk as pictured below.

kefir grains in fermentation jar and carton organic milk

Once topped up with milk, leave on a kitchen counter top, out of direct sunlight to ferment.  Shake twice daily until fermented and the milk thickens and the kefir may float to the top.  When straining no metal must be used.  A solution we found, was to take an disused plastic pot and drill 3mm in the bottle to act like a sieve.  Using plastic is not a first preference, as plastic contains BPA, however it tends not to leech BPA so long as the plastic is not heated, so it’s grand to use in this case.

Strain off the milk yoghurt every 24 – 36 hours depending on how well it ferments and fill into a large fermentation pot, like above and leave out for a further 24 hours to fully ferment.

Or you can pot into small yoghurt ports like below.

small milk kefir yogurt pots

Then refrigerate, and it should keep for 2 – 4 weeks.  Return the strained kefir grains to the a freshly washed jar and top up with fresh milk to continue the process for again.  Sometimes we pour the yoghurt into a large pot for use when making the Oatmeal Porridge Bread as a substitute for natural yoghurt.

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Alkalising Homemade Toothpaste

Some months ago we posted a recipe to make your own homemade toothpaste.  We have now been using the toothpaste for several months now and noticed how clean and white our teeth were getting.  The peppermint was really giving the re-freshing taste you usually get with a minted toothpaste and the smell was long-lasting.

We initially found the mix a bit salty, but after a few days we became accustomed to it.  We carried out a few experiments to test the pH before brushing, just after brushing and an hour later.

litmus paper results of saliva prior to brushingBefore Brushing

litmus results for after brushing with homemade toothpaste
Straight after brushing

We found the pH of the saliva
before brushing : 7 – 7.5pHjust after brushing : 9 -10pH
1 hour after brushing : 8pH

These are great results, we tested twice and the results were consistent.   So the homemade toothpaste is a practical toiletry and helpx to alkalise the body to create more favourable living conditions for the body to function and it’s co-occupants the beneficial bacteria and yeast to help them thrive.  They in turn teach our body to recognise the not so good guys and assist us to get rid of them. This is so true in the fight against cancer.  Cancer can not thrive in alkaline conditions. Dr Tulio Simoncini advocated the use of bicarbonate of soda in the treatment of cancer with exceptional results.  As we swallow continually we swallow alkalised

Here’s is the recipe again.  Enjoy.  I love this sentiment, some good friends use it a lot. 🙂

May it bring you joy and nourishment.

homemade toothpaste in a swing top jar
Homemade Toothpaste

Take 1/2 cup of Baking Soda also known as Bicarbonate of Soda or Bread Soda
12 – 15 drops of Peppermint oil
1/2 Teaspoon of Rock/Sea Salt
Moisten with Distilled water and mix well (4 -5 minutes)

To see all the posts we have shared to date, please click here.

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Eating less/no meat? Vegetarianism – Vegetable Pie

Over the past two years we have been actively reducing the amount of meat we consume, because of several reasons, the inhumane treatment of animals, eating other conscious and sentient beings, the health benefits from not eating a lot of meat,  it effects on microbiota by not promoting non-beneficial bacteria/yeasts, the drugs and chemicals given to animals being passed on in it, and not forgetting parasites and infections.

We might sound judgemental however we are not, we accept it as a choice, and a right and occasionally when with friends we might eat red meat or poultry, for now its eggs, fish, dairy (cheese and milk kefir only), and vegetables and fruit.

We have a clutch of free range hens and they pay for themselves, what we get for the eggs, pays their grain bill and we have a good supply of eggs to eat.  We love having poultry, we get immense pleasure and satisfaction seeing them out and about around the garden, picking for grubs and titbits and watching their personalities develop, social order and intelligence shine. The dogs are good with the hens in that they help protect from foxes, we have had a few taken recently, and the hens are not bothered by them being around.  We are mindful about the responsibility of caring for other animals, to consider things such as giving them the freedom to express natural behaviour, food sources and choices, keeping them healthy and adequate room to explore, sleep etc.

Cooking and eating vegetarian food can be a challenge, but an enjoyable one.  We don’t miss the meat from the dinner plate and the food is as favourable, satisfying and filling as with meat.

We tend to be spontaneous cooks and just combine ingredients that work together and for the most part (it doesn’t always 🙂 ) works out great.

Today we cooked up some of last years vegetables to make a vegetarian pie.

veg

When cooking food, we believe that food should be our medicine, to that end we include ingredients that are home-grown, home-made or at the very least organic and in some cases medicinal in nature such as tumeric, sage, for their inflammatory properties etc.

Vegetable Pie

2 medium sized, carrots
4 medium sized parsnips
A handful Yim/yam beans & a handful garden peas
One small turnip
One small beetroot
1 Leek
2 Medium sized onions
4 cloves of garlic
A pinch of the following turmeric, dried sage, oregano, basil, thyme, rock salt, ground mixed pepper, chilli flakes
A handful of spelt wholemeal flour
1/3 bottle of homemade wine red/white, rhubarb in this case.
4 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil

Potatoe Topping
4 medium sized potatoes
A dollop of soft cheese and red cheddar
A pinch of salt and pepper

Chop and combine all the ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes, add then to a casserole dish when cooked.  Boil the potatoes for the topping separately, then drain, add the salt, pepper, cheeses and mash. Layer on top and cover the entire vegetable base.  Cook at 140 degrees for a further 10 minutes.

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Cooking with Microwave Ovens – Turns good food to bad

In the study of biochemistry we look at the shape of proteins and how this shape or confirmation affects its nature, purpose.

When we change the shape of a protein we call this de-naturing. A lot of food preservation and cooking results in the de-naturing of proteins, a very visible example is a poached or fried egg, the heat causes changes in the egg protein albumen and egg white turns from a translucent colour to white.

Microwaves work by creating a powerful resonance field created by a device called a magnetron, that excites the water molecules present in most food. The frequency of the wave is matched to water and the molecules of water begin to vibrate wildly, causing friction/heat.

Microwave cooking causes extreme and sudden heat changes, unlike gradual radiating heat from conventional heating.  This rapid heat change is the reason why microwaved food cooks quicker but also accounts for an increased de-naturing of proteins within the food.

Hence why the food taste substantially different. The protein shapes have been so radically altered the food tastes different and it’s texture is also altered significantly.

locknkey

Microwaves are marketed as being safe to use and eat from, we believe that as the food molecules are so radically altered, the body and microbiome can’t lock onto to proteins and food molecules altered by the microwave cooking process. Many of the more complex molecular processes in the body, use a lock and key mechanism to recognise each other. When the food is so altered, this will not happen. The food does not properly digest and why some people report that microwaved food sits in their digestive system and doesn’t seem to move.

It wouldn’t be fair to levy a charge on the microwave oven that it and it alone is a food damaging form of cooking.  In truth all cooking methods de-nature proteins, however we believe that the microwave causes more de-naturing.  When you take this to its natural conclusion, perhaps advocates of eating raw foods are bang on the nail.

Microwaves have been shown to change even the structure of water on it’s own, to the point that plants fed with microwaved water, wither and die.  In the control of this experiment, water was heated by conventional means to the same temperature as the microwaved water. Both samples were cooled before being fed to the plants.

Furthermore we are told that microwave ovens do not allow microwave radiation to escape from within the oven.  Place your mobile/cell into the oven, ring it.  It will ring.  Ok you might say, that proves nothing, signals are able to enter the microwave, that’s what I thought at first, then you realise the cell/mobile is communicating with the cell tower, in order for the phone to ring it must be connected to the cell tower.  That means the phone is emitting microwaves from within the oven and these signals are powerful enough to reach the tower many miles away from within the oven.

Throw out your microwave and when you eat out insist that your food is not microwaved.

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How to make Milk Kefir

How to make Milk Kefir

If you suffer from any inflammatory condition, such as asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, IBS etc then this could be part of the solution for you.  Milk Kefir like water contains a grain, which is just a term coined to describe the structure formed by the living organism within the kefir solution.  They are a perfectly balanced symbiotic organism, comprising of the natural yeasts and bacteria needed to maintain a healthy microbiota in your colon/gut.

However if you are lactose intolerant you may wish to look at Water Kefir. http://www.comhceol.com/how-to-make-water-kefir/

The yeast and bacteria works synergestically to digest the milk proteins and sugars to increase their numbers and the best news is, they are a renewable resource, in that once you have them and care for them, they will continue to help keep you healthy for years to come.

Ingredients & Equipment needed

1 Litre/Quart of Milk (Raw or Organic preferred)
1 Tbsp milk kefir grains
Plastic sieve or muslin cloth1 litre mason/swingtop jar

Place the milk kefir grains in a clean 1 litre jar, add the 1 litre of milk.

Tightly cover and set out at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours (in hot weather, it ferments
faster) but not in direct sun light.

Shake the jar a couple times during fermentation.

After shaking, release any CO2 gas buildup by opening the lid, then tighten the lid once again. (A tight lid produces
a lightly effervescent beverage. To eliminate effervescence, just rest the lid on the jar rather than tightly closing the lid.)

After it has successfully fermented, strain off the grains through a collander, sieve or muslin cloth and place once again into a clean jar and top up with milk to renew the process over again.  The kefir is ready when the grains coagulate at the top of the jar.

Kefir grains do not like metal, it is thought to have something to do with the particle charge of metals killing the kefir, so avoid using metal instruments or kitchenware.

Place the kefir into handy reusable jars like illustrated below and have a healthy threat to eat every day.

20160302_174142These are yogurt pots we re-use over and over again.

 

Ripened Kefir (optional)

Once you’ve strained out the kefir grains, it is recommend to ripen kefir at room temperature for a day or two prior to consuming it. Ripening kefir will eliminate some lactose from the beverage and increase some of the B
group vitamins. Folic acid, for example, increases by at least 116% in comparison to fresh milk or freshly strained kefir.

As the kefir ripens, the thick creamy kefir floats above the watery whey. Shake or stir to blend the ingredients. Or, separate and use the thickened kefir as sour cream and the whey in baking, for drinking or in other fermented foods. Once it has ripened, refrigerate it.

*Shaking the fermenting kefir prevents the formation of yeasts and acetobacter colonies from forming on the surface. If colonies form they will appear as a light-brown wavy film. Skim this off, discard the film and use the kefir. Should you ever loose a batch of kefir (or your grains) to rampant overgrowth, your nose and taste buds will unerringly inform you to toss it.

Special thanks to Brenda Lett for the repost and wonderful gift of kefir and the source Rebecca Wood.  Bright Blessings.

The featured image is water kefir and milk kefir.